We use cookies to make this site as useful as possible. Read our cookie policy or ignore.

Mission statements can energise companies

29 June 2018 by Henry Ker

Mission statements can energise companies

A clear mission can go to the heart of business operations

Companies are usually run with a clear mission and purpose. These are often simple, but incredibly ambitious – some are conveniently vague.

Google’s is to ‘Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’, Amazon’s is ‘to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online’, while Ikea’s is ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’.

Some you may struggle to link back to the service they actually provide (take Starbucks’ ‘to inspire and nurture the human spirit’, for example).

But are these just pithy soundbites or do they actually sit at the heart of the way the business operates?

This month’s cover interview, with Niamh O’Sullivan of Cancer Research UK – an organisation with a similarly ambitious and concise vision, but one that is very real: ‘to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured’.

She spoke to me about the energy at the charity and how ‘the people here are really committed to the mission of the organisation: that by 2034, three out of four patients survive cancer. It is a powerful message that motivates our staff in their everyday work.’

Underpinning all of this are the staff, volunteers, researchers, fundraisers and the organisation’s governance. As O’Sullivan explains, ‘Good governance underpins an effective organisation that has a well-developed strategy and is focused on its objectives … Good governance is a virtuous circle.’

Oft-neglected, the communication process around an organisation’s mission and how their systems support it is also improving. We have a feature from GSK and Unilever, joint winners of Sustainability Disclosure of the Year at the ICSA Awards 2017, where they take us through how they bring their corporate values to life through reporting.

As Jonny McCaig of Unilever explains, ‘[the company’s purpose] is a driving force behind how we work’.

With the public increasingly interested in how organisations are run, as much as the end result, this communication process is now a vital part of stakeholder engagement. Hopefully, good governance will help ensure many missions are ultimately achieved.

Henry Ker is editor of Governance and Compliance

LATEST ARTICLES

Emma Perkin: 'Good governance is fundamental to how we grow and evolve our schools'

Emma Perkin: 'Good governance is fundamental to how we grow and evolve our schools'

07 November 2018

The founder and lead consultant at The Constant Group, talks about her journey into academy governance and the fundamental role it plays. Read more...

Preventing business cartels

Preventing business cartels

02 November 2018

Breaking competition law can happen in different ways but some of the most serious ones are also the least understood. Read more...

Utilising technology

Utilising technology

02 November 2018

With industry 4.0 firmly in place, it is now up to organisation boards to capitalise on digital developments. Read more...

The metric system

The metric system

02 November 2018

Companies and investors have had to contend with a great deal of recent change in the reporting of performance measures. Read more...

Taking ownership

Taking ownership

02 November 2018

Share plans conference serves a timely reminder that ownership matters. Read more...

Abuses of power

Abuses of power

02 November 2018

The use of parliamentary privilege to break non-disclosure agreements raises questions about their usage. Read more...

Reaching new heights

Reaching new heights

02 November 2018

A new qualification aims to support the professional development of financial service regulators. Read more...

On report

On report

01 November 2018

Part One of our guide to corporate governance reforms and forthcoming annual reporting obligations. Read more...

Pricing Algorithms

Pricing Algorithms

01 November 2018

Questions have been raised surrounding the existing provisions of competition law. Read more...

The big problems

The big problems

01 November 2018

The Big Four auditors are coming under increasing amounts of scrutiny over financial reporting standards. Read more...

Have your say

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisements